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智慧之巔 - 人工智能

Pinnacle of Wisdom - Artificial Intelligence


Mythical Animals on Chinese’s Rooftops


Ten guardian rooftop animals: “The forefront guardian Rooster-Riding Immortal, (1st) the Dragon, (2nd) the Phoenix, (3rd) the Lion, (4th) the Sea Horse, (5th) the Heavenly Horse, (6th) the Yayu, (7th) the Suanni, (8th) the Xiezhi, (9th) the Douniu, and (10th) the Xingshi”


It reminds me of a Chinese ancient saying from “Shi-jing / Book of Odes” - “All lands belong to the King”, this reflects the sovereignty of the Ancient China from the King’s perspective.


The Hall of Supreme Harmony is situated at the southern part of the Forbidden City, the south-facing / south-north direction line is traditionally considered very auspicious, prime and imperial.

       十數,合十,十隻脊獸就只有象徵最高皇權、至高等級的宮殿 - 太和殿才獨有。

Being the highest-ranking ancient building in China, the Hall of Supreme Harmony has its unique and distinctive Double Eave Hip Roof, this type of roof is only used in royal palace and Confucian temples.

       在中國的建築學上,太和殿的屋頂是最高規格的重檐廡殿頂,每條屋脊上都安放獸件 - 稱為脊獸。《大清會典》對脊獸的排列有著詳細的描述,脊獸的數目和種類有著非常嚴格的等級區別,獸件愈多,建築級別愈高。

The more animal statues, the higher the palace rank; the Hall of Supreme Harmony (also known as the Golden Carriage Palace) of the Chinese Forbidden City is the only palace having the full 10 mythical animal statues on the rooftop, which cannot be seen anywhere else. 10 is an auspicious number; it represents perfection; which symbolises the highest imperial power.


Made up of tile or glazed tile, the rooftop animals were once used to add weights evenly to the rooftop, it also improved the drainage of rainwater and protected the building against storm and rain. Since ancient buildings in China were generally made of wood and relatively flammable, surrounding these spaces with tiles-made rooftop animals was an effective way of improving safety special thanks to their fire resistance.


Coupled with the functional aspect of the architecture, the ancient architect added on fantastic aesthetic value of construction to the design of rooftop animals. This also reflected how the traditional act of worship were built on mythical animals. It was believed that the mythical animals could ward off evils and bring good luck to the community.



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